A local attorney and college president are voicing their opinions on the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, a bill the House of Delegates cleared by a 72-26 vote, Thursday.
Robert Dunlap is an attorney in Beckley who represents some members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender group. He is against the bill, calling it an excuse for supporters to discriminate against homosexuals.
“It does nothing to further religion, it does nothing to ensure our faiths,” Dunlap says. “It just gives somebody an out to say, ‘well my faith allows me to refuse service to these folks.’ And it’s discrimination, it’s wrong no matter how you ask about it.”
Dunlap says if the bill is passed, it would give little reason for LGBT members to continue living in West Virginia.
“LGBT has no protection as a protected class anyway,” Dunlap tells 59News. “So I have nothing good to encourage folks that want to stay that happen to be LGBT, which is why they so often leave the state of West Virginia.”
Dr. Daniel Anderson is the president of Appalachian Bible College in Mount Hope. He says the bill provides a fair balance to all West Virginians to express their religion.
“Persons who want to exercise their beliefs as it would relate to their differences of view on the issue of homosexuality, those persons should have that right on the basis of their religious tenant to exercise that,” Dr. Anderson says. “Just as much as the person who would want to hold a homosexual practice would be able to have their practice in their domain.”
The Religious Freedom Act now moves to the senate for a debate and vote in the coming weeks.